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  • Japan Times: New IC Chip Gaijin Card passes Lower House, expected to pass Upper too

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 21st, 2009

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    Hi Blog. Here it comes. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    Lower House passes bill revising foreign residency rules
    The Japan Times, Saturday, June 20, 2009


    …Foreign residents will be listed on the Juki Net resident registry network, a computer network linking municipalities that contains demographic information of Japanese residents.

    Visas, typically good for three years, will be extended to five. Also, foreign residents will no longer be required to obtain re-entry permits if they return to Japan within a year.

    On the other hand, the punishments for failing to report one’s address and other personal information will become harsher. In order to curb fake marriages, the bills give the justice minister the authority to revoke the spousal visas of those who fail to conduct “activities spouses normally do” for six months. Special consideration would be given to spouses who live separately because of mitigating circumstances, including abuse.

    According to the bills, the government must review the new immigration law and make necessary changes within three years of enforcement. If enacted, the new law will be enforced within three years of its announcement to the public.

    Full article at

    23 Responses to “Japan Times: New IC Chip Gaijin Card passes Lower House, expected to pass Upper too”

    1. The Shark Says:

      What will happen to permanent residents?

      So far changes regarding employer or employment/work don’t need to be reported to the ward office by permanent residents (neither does that information appear on the alien card).
      Is that gonna change???

      — That’s gonna change.

    2. Chris Says:

      When can we expect this ridiculous bill to be enforced? As in when can we expect to get these damn card?

    3. Massimo Says:

      then it seems that another option left is to become Japanese. =)
      ALL of us Japanese, it would be interesting.
      What would they do then ?

    4. snowman Says:

      Looks like the GOP doesn’t want to see people going for PR then. If the PR has to inform immigration of all changes, what’s the point of going through all the hassle of getting the damn thing in the first place? Zero it seems.

      — There are plenty of advantages to Permanent Residency. Get it. Read more here.

    5. Mumei Says:

      I must say that I am disappointed.
      This will make daily life in Japan overall more difficult.

      It is still not clear whether reporting relevant changes can be done at local city halls (who could forward it on as necessary) or whether we will need to make potentially long trips to crowded immigration offices.

      > revoke the spousal visas of those who fail to conduct “activities spouses normally do” for six months

      Besides sex, what activities are spouses supposed to be doing? The non-activity of living together? It sounds like the old Japanese lawmakers are out of touch with the real-world working Japanese family that often can not live together.

      How about revising the laws to accept, or ignore since it is none of their business, multiple citizenship. Or do we need to wait until a few more non-Japanese “Japanese” win the Nobel prize? I plan on living out the rest of my life here and would rather put an end to this ever worsening draconian visa system, but trading one citizenship for another is not an option.

      The only good thing about this is that it seems that there will a three year reprieve before this begins. Time to get a new wallet.

    6. snowman Says:

      I guess that since the PR has to start reporting all changes to immigration plus submit those damn criminal fingerprints at the airport, the PR has become essentially worthless. I wonder how many PR holders will go for naturalization like myself?
      And too, the re-entry line will disappear at airports so the PR will have the joy of queueing up with the tourists to submit the criminal fingerprints each and every time he/she re-enters the country. I can only assume that The GOJ doesn’t want to see any more PRs here since they are actively trying to discourage it. They like the revolving door system for immigration.
      Why is it that things always seem to get worse??

    7. john Says:

      can our permanent residence be cancelled for failing to report some change or regarding divorce for what ever reason?
      What real benefits will we get? cheap japanese courses to help us integrate?

    8. James N Says:

      Debito – What will you do when you get stopped, (you know you will) for being mistaken as a foreigner and not being detectable via RFID scan from a distance of 13-20 cm? I am assuming that your new license which does not have the RFID chip also does not have your Honseki written on it either which proves you are Japanese….

      — Make a fuss, of course. I double dare them to arrest me.

    9. john k Says:

      One step forward two steps back…ugh!

    10. Deepspacebeans Says:

      A few whacks with a hammer on the chip and the RFID problem is solved. Microwave works too, but that does not seem as accidental. Of course, this does not excuse such measures from being implemented in the first place, especially when the implementation of RFID tech in the cards of Japanese citizens was deemed illegal by courts. So I guess privacy is a privilege, not a right…

    11. WolfSheep Says:

      [According to the bills, the government must review the new immigration law and make necessary changes within three years of enforcement.]

      Maybe its the extreme cynic in me, but I worry about this statement. Sounds like they will use the very small ‘pros’ to push through the bad law, then recend them after it is passed. I would hate to be right about this but it seems like something that they would try and pull. Imagine when the three years is up and they decide not to integrate us into juki-net for whatever contrived reason? Or add unreasonable, high barriers or conditions to getting the 5 year visa?

      Or maybe im just being paranoid again….

    12. The Shark Says:

      I’m on PR now. Might go for naturalization though. Looks like PR will never be what it used to be. Went to the 法務局 for consulation. They even encouraged me to go ahead with my intention to apply.
      For all of you who have PR now, no criminal record or any record, been here fo about 5 years at least I guess, able to support yourself, the roughly saying you should be OK. Having a Japanese spouse and child would be a definite advantage (the way it looks). If your Japanese (written and spoken) is good enough to deal with Japanese authorities in Japanese then that too should be OK.
      So my advise for everyone intending to stay here FOREVER, naturalization might be the only real solution from now on.

      Every year about 30,000 people commit suicide in Japan, a kind with a shrinking population. Yet lawmakers seem to worry about roughly 100,000 overstayers or so. Overstayers (if they don’t engage in crime which most of them don’t do I imagine) are actually of benefit to the Japanese economy. At least they are consumers. But 30,000 people a year committing suicide is something maybe to be ashamed of. So they try to cover it up rather than address it.

      With this legislation my forecast for Japan would be: Japanese population will keep shrinking, newcomers (especially well-educated ones the government prefers) will rathers settle down in other Asian countries … Japan will gradually become just smaller and less significant.

    13. The Shark Says:

      ‘Snowman’ pointed out that the re-entry line at airports could disappear. I hope not. I hope they would be smart enough and kepp that line in place and just call it IC card holders or whatever.

    14. Justin Says:

      I asked this a long time ago and don’t think the answer was conclusive one way or the other, so here goes again: Is having one “aka-kippu” (a 6-point speeding ticket that technically involves the judicial system) going to keep someone from getting PR or naturalizing?

      — I was mentei and it didn’t stop me. But I’ve heard of it stopping others.

    15. Justin Says:

      Debito, the issue is not just mentei, but aka-kippu.

      You can get mentei by accumulating a couple of lesser offenses, but an aka-kippu offense incorporates a criminal-justice component (at least nominally; you don’t actually need to appear in court and you don’t get any punishment besides a fine).

      Neither of the links you included above deal with someone getting an aka-kippu.

      — Apologies. I told you what I know. No need to be a scold. You might invite more answers if you take a gentler tone.

    16. Mumei Says:


      When you apply, you may submit as many extra documents as you wish. If you are worried, then it may be beneficial to include a detailed explanation, ideally in Japanese, of the situation that led to the aka kippu, any personal hansei, what you learned, and how you have endeavored to uphold other laws and that the offense will not happen again. People at immigrations are not necessarily without a heart and may be receptive to an real honest explanation.

      While potentially expensive, you could also seek the council of an professional immigration lawyer as well, which may not be a bad idea for anyone seeking PR.

    17. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Question: Debito, I’d never read your tale of driving difficulties (and am impressed at how polite the police were; they’re not like that with bicyclists, even when you’ve dont nothing wrong), and was surprised to see this:

      The Ministry of Justice told me, last time I went in to talk about naturalization (kika), that they do not allow lawbreakers to become Japanese. A person who commits the equivalent of a felony, or breaks two of the same minor laws, invalidates his qualification for citizenship. That includes, he stressed, traffic violations.

      Does this include forgetting to carry your alien card? Surely everyone has forgotten to carry their cards more than twice in a lifetime. As of now, you only have to worry when the times you forget to carry it coincide with the times that a cop demands to see it (and doesn’t let you off with a warning). If the IC chips get installed and cops are walking around with scanners, you’ve got a good chance of being stopped if you forget the card and are unscannable. The average person will easily rack up several of these pseudo-“crimes”.

    18. Justin Says:

      Debito, you read a tone into my previous comment that is not there. As near as I can tell, my comment is completely tone-free; it merely states the facts. At any rate, I certainly did not intend to sound like a scold.

    19. Why so serious? Says:

      I heard that the law passed with some amendments, one of which was that all foreigners will be required to prove they are on public health and pension before they can get a visa. What happens to those of us who have never been on Shakai Hoken? If you’ve been in Japan for some time, surely the fee to enter the public health and pension scheme could be very high?

    20. let`s talk Says:

      Look what I read today in JT: “foreign spouses of Japanese or non-Japanese PERMANENT RESIDENTS could lose their residency status if they fail to “conduct activities normally carried out by spouses” for six months.”

      Why are permanent residents included? What does it mean? If a foreigner gets a PR as a spouse of Japanese and later he/she divorces, the PR can be revoked? In this case what is the difference between PR and a spouse visa (except non-renewals? The meaning of PR is it is PERMANENT. Is it a misprint in Japan Today?

      — It is not a misprint.

    21. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Let’s Talk, I think you’re parsing it wrong.

      It’s “(foreign spouses of:) (Japanese or non-Japanese PERMANENT RESIDENTS)”; that is, foreign spouses of Japanese nationals, or foreign spouses of non-national permanent residents, with the spouse living in Japan on a spouse visa and the person they’re married to being on a PR visa.

      It’s not “(foreign spouses of Japanese) or (non-Japanese PERMANENT RESIDENTS)”. If you get PR before being married, they won’t even know that you have a spouse.

    22. MMT Says:

      Let’s Talk:

      I think the way to read that sentence (someone please correct me if I’m mistaken) is that either spouses of Japanese nationals OR spouses of PR holders may lose there visa status if “normal” relations are not evident for more than six months.

      Having a PR visa of your own shouldn’t be affected by one’s marital status (as many PR aren’t even married).

    23. let`s talk Says:

      Thanks for the clarifications.Anyway, either visas of spouses of Japanese or spouses of PR holders shouldn`t be revoked until the divorce is done.A divorce can take longer time than six months.

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